Merc chases lost youth

A new baby aimed at those aged un­der 50

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige News - PAUL GOVER Paul.gover@cars­

THE baby Benz that went miss­ing in 2011 is com­ing back with a vengeance.

The A-Class was dropped af­ter fall­ing sales in Aus­tralia, but an all-new A will show a new style direc­tion, and a more youth­ful side, when it re­turns to lo­cal show­rooms in 2012.

It is pre­viewed at the Shang­hai and New York mo­tor shows next week with the prom­ise of a racy hatch­back body to re­place the boxy fridge­like look of the out­go­ing car. And more ex­cite­ment.

Mercedes-Benz Aus­tralia de­nies it lost faith in the A-Class, but it says the new A, and the B-Class that comes with it, will re­new buyer en­thu­si­asm.

The A-Class went into hi­ber­na­tion. We took it out of the cat­a­logue be­cause the B-Class was pre­dom­i­nantly meet­ing that need,’’ said Benz spokesman David Mc­Carthy.

The vol­ume has en­cour­aged us to bring both the new A and B-Class to Aus­tralia when they are re­leased.’’

The world­wide em­pha­sis is on the A, with the B con­tin­u­ing as a fam­ily-fo­cused hatch. There will also be a com­pact SUV as Mercedes lever­ages an all-new com­pact-car plat­form for the fu­ture.

The third-gen­er­a­tion A-Class is much lower and live­lier than be­fore, comes with a class-first anti-col­li­sion sys­tem and has an ad­ven­tur­ous cabin with a dash in­spired by an air­craft wing.

But it’s still only a con­cept car and the mo­tor show ma­chine could change be­fore pro­duc­tion next year.

Mc­Carthy said the ob­jec­tive with the new A-Class is to get younger peo­ple to add a baby Benz to their shop­ping list.

Not only is this a new mar­ket for Mercedes-Benz, it will also lure peo­ple to the brand who have never con­sid­ered us be­fore,’’ he said.

He re­fused to be drawn on price or ex­act tim­ing, or on spec­u­la­tion that the A and B-Class cars will have a joint ar­rival next year.

It will be great value. It will be some­time in 2012 for Aus­tralia,’’ he said.

Con­cept view: The A-Class is­nowl­ower and live­lier

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